Annual meeting and dinner held Thursday night

El Dorado Chamber of Commerce celebrated accomplishments and milestones of local businesses and the Chamber.
Following the meal, Susie Carson, executive director of the Chamber, kicked off the program and award presentation.
Guest speaker, Erik Pedersen, Vice President of Entrepreneurship for the Kansas Center for Entrepreneurship DBA NetWork Kansas, shared his experience in overall operation and management of fast growing businesses.  
Pedersen’s responsibilities have grown to oversee the Entrepreneurship (E-) Community partnership. This partnership, which has grown to 61 E-Communities, includes an injection of capital raised locally through the NetWork Kansas Entrepreneurship Tax Credit Program to help start and grow businesses in rural Kansas communities.
“Entrepreneurship matters...What you guys have is a group doing wonderful things.  Relationships are important,” he said.
Pedersen stressed the importance of connecting  entrepreneurs and small business owners with the right resources—expertise, education, and economic resources—when they are needed most.
A Powerpoint presentation highlighting the Chamber’s 2017 year in review was shown.  Achievements in Business Relations, Business Education, Legislative Affairs, Business Outreach and Promotion, Small Business Development and Expansion, and Chamber Events were included in the video.
Presenting the awards for the evening was Josh Andrews, the 2018 Chamber president.
The nominees for the Large Business of the Year Award were: Walmart, HollyFrontier, Emprise Bank, Butler Electric Cooperative, and Emprise Bank.
The winner was Butler Electric Cooperative.
Small Business of the Year Award nominees:  Walnut Valley Packing, GCI, Don Hattan El Dorado, Charley’s Appliance, Gypsy Boutique, and JRS Rental & Sales.
The winner was JRS Rentals & Sales.
The nominees for the Community Enrichment award:  Elks, Family Life Center/Safehouse, FamilyWorship Center, Demo Sales, El Dorado Charities Auxiliary, and Celebration of Freedom.
The winner was Demo Sales.
The nominees for the Horizon Award were:  Roxann Cool, Johnna Partridge, and Tim Briggs.
The winner was Roxann Cool.
Other guest speakers included Gwen Shirkey, Director of Engagement for Symphony in the Flint Hills, and CJ Wilson, co-owner and partner of the Dam Music Fest.
Shirkey shared plans about this year’s Symphony in the Flint Hills, June 9, 2018, at the Rosalia Ranch in Butler County.
Wilson thanked the community businesses for their support in last year’s first Dam Music Fest and advised that lessons were learned from the experience.
“There will be some changes.  It’s going to be bigger and better.  This is a great event, right in your own backyard.”